PANAJI: Goa, where schools presently function for five hours a day, has found itself in a difficult position as the central government's deadline is nearing for extension of school hours to seven-and-half hours.
Schools in Goa function only for half a day and central government's Right of Child to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009 recommends full-schooling from Class I to VIII in institutions across the country.
As the deadline for implementation of RTE's provisions of April 2013 is closing in, Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar, who is also the education minister, convened a meeting of education officials recently to discuss a way to resolve the issue in Goa.
The chief minister was of the opinion that only schools that have the necessary infrastructure should be asked to begin functioning full-day, while the rest of the schools should be provided a deadline by which they have to make provisions for the infrastructure needed to function throughout the day.
But Goa education officials advised Parrikar that a uniform pattern should be drawn for all schools in the state to avoid confusion or opposition to the move. And as such the state is yet to reach a consensus on the issue. Goa schools currently operate from 8.15am to 1.15pm.
Full-day schooling means that institutions need to have spacious and comfortable classrooms, compound walls for students' security, libraries, playgrounds and other recreational facilities to engage students in educational and sports activities throughout the day.
Goa is set to finally notify its RTE rules on June 30 and as such the state is gearing up to implement all provisions of the Act.